Getting a divorce in Tampa
Tampa area offers wealth of domestic violence resources
Please see "Divorce in Florida" for an overview of state law and various options that couples have available.
Benefits of counseling
However, to re-emphasize one point, as you gather information about divorce law in Florida and specifics about Hillsborough County, don't forget to consider your emotional and spiritual needs. Many people who go through divorce--even a so-called amicable divorce--often reports feelings of deep grief akin to those of suffering a death in the family. This can occur even when parties recognize that the relationship has run its course.
Accordingly, experts advise at least considering the services of a professional therapist, grief counselor or spiritual adviser. In addition to legal information and advice, a competent, trained divorce attorney can help with referrals.
Getting help with domestic violence
Experts also warn to immediately address any issues of domestic violence; once again, your attorney can be extremely valuable not only with the legal business of restraining/protective orders but also with emergency "escape plans" and securing shelter. Fortunately, residents of Florida and the Tampa-Hillsborough County area have a variety of agencies and facilities that can help with domestic violence, including these online resources:
- Clerk of the Circuit Court's domestic violence Web page;
- Tampa Police Department, "Domestic Violence"--
- Family Justice Center of Hillsborough County;
- Safe Tampa Bay (includes shelters and hotlines);
- The Spring (calls itself the county's only certified DV prevention and emergency shelter agency).
- Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence;
- Florida Department of Children & Families' DV page;
- A.A.R.D.V.A.R.C.'S page, Florida: Domestic Violence Resources.
Divorce in Hillsborough County
You or your lawyer will be utilizing the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Family Law Court to administer your divorce. According to the Web site's "self service" page, A "Pro Se Litigant . . . [is] a person who appears in court without the assistance of a lawyer.
Self-service Web application
"The Hillsborough County Self Service Web Application is a tool that gives users assistance in preparing court documents online if you are not able to have an attorney draft them for you. Documents can be prepared for divorce, evictions or small claims filing types.
"The program is designed to be easy to use. You simply answer questions related to your filing type. At the end of the program, you will be able to print out documents that look much like those an attorney would prepare for you. There are brief explanations about the law that relates to your documents and instructions on how to use the documents you prepare."
Notice to potential pro se litigants
Although true that you represent yourself in court, either as Petitioner (Plaintiff) or Respondent (Defendant), experts advise each party to at least consult with an attorney. It may be that in very simple, uncontested cases, minimal legal advice is necessary. However, many authorities recommend even then that the Petitioner have the papers drawn up by an attorney to ensure the petition is legal and the eventual decree enforceable. Of course, in complex contested cases (usually involving disagreements over children, significant assets--or both), it's recommended that each party be represented by counsel.
No matter your marital situation, we can help. If you're ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.